Holiday Survival Guide 2016
It’s holiday time! We all want to celebrate this time of year with healthy holiday celebrationsWe’re all tempted to indulge and eat too many things that taste good but leave us feeling bad. Often we promise ourselves to begin a clean eating plan or diet right after the holidays. Unfortunately the average person gains 6-9 lbs. between Thanksgiving and Christmas, often leaving them frustrated and eager to make changes that may not be so easily made.
What if you could enjoy the holidays, have amazing food and not be smothered in stacks of sweets, cakes and heavy foods that give you that momentary pleasure but are immediately regretted? Holidays are a festive, joyful time to celebrate with family and friends. And you can avoid turning those social functions into sugary, processed food experiences that jeopardize your health or waistline.
During the holidays you’re very likely to find yourself in a family, social or workplace situation where there are many tempting sugary foods and significant pressure to participate. While I see the general movement towards healthy eating growing consistently, people feel a lot of pressure to eat and drink as everyone else is, even knowing that they will feel terrible afterwards. Maintain the health goals you’ve worked hard to achieve over the last year or months. Today I’ll share 10 things you can do to for yourself and your family to celebrate the holidays in a festive and healthy way, and then stay tuned in a few days when I post part two filled with more tips.
1. Avoid major food allergies– sugar, gluten, dairy, and corn. Eating these foods is associated with increased cravings. Substitute with better options such as honey, maple syrup, almond or coconut milk and gluten-free bread.
2. Ensure you’re making enough serotonin the calming, happy hormone, by eating complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, squash, and sweet potato.
3. Ensure you’re making enough dopamine, the feel good hormone by eating high quality protein, folic acid, iron, zinc, magnesium, B vitamins. Reach for grass finished meats and eggs, leafy green vegetables, and seafood.
4. Reach for adapotogens instead of stimulants. Instead of cola or coffee, include ashwaganda, astragalus, and maca in your smoothies to support your energy levels, mood and immune system.
5. Use low glycemic sweeteners and flours in your baking. These include almond, coconut and brown rice flours and coconut sugar, stevia, raw honey and maple syrup.
6. Practice the 3-food principle– before you give in to ‘hunger’ or cravings, eat three health-promoting foods, then if you still want that food have it.
7. Start your meals with vegetables and protein as this will promote satiety and ensure adequate omega-3s from foods such as fish, chia, flax or hemp. By loading up on real foods first like whole fruits, vegetables, non-gluten grains, healthy fats and wild-caught fish or other animal protein, your brain will be signalled to stop eating and you’re less likely to reach for sugary processed foods and dessert.
8. Before eating sugar or drinking alcohol take a greens supplement such as Greens Plus. This will help you to avoid leaching minerals and mood-boosting B vitamins from the body. Also remember to stay hydrated during your festivities.
9. Make a dessert or entrée ahead and take with you to a social gathering to share with others. If there’re few things you can have at the event, you’ll know you’ve brought a great option for yourself and others to try.
10. Have a potluck get-together at work or with friends. Create a holiday dinner and request everyone brings one dish. Coordinate those dishes ahead of time so you know everyone brings something different and that every dish will be healthy.
You can check out last week’s post for three delicious holiday recipes.